The man who found the Titanic did so with help from the US Navy, and he got that much needed support in part by convincing the Navy that finding the shipwreck would “drive the Soviets crazy,” renowned explorer Robert Ballard reveals in the new book “Into The Deep,” which was co-written with investigative reporter Christopher Drew. Over the course of his celebrated career, Ballard has discovered the wrecks of the Nazi battleship Bismarck, the US aircraft carrier Yorktown, and US patrol torpedo boat PT-109 (commanded by then Lt. j.g. John F. Kennedy). But his most recognizable discovery was the British passenger ship Titanic that sank in the North Atlantic on April 15, 1912, ending more than 1,500 lives.
So in early May of that year, Irish author Don Mullan, a longtime friend of Dean’s, led the charge to raise money for her. He himself sold copies of a photo he’d taken of Dean and turned his earnings over to what was dubbed the “Millvina Fund.” And then he called upon the major players in the making of 1997’s Titanic—namely, James Cameron, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, 20th Century Fox, and Celine Dion—to match his contribution. “There were people out there who could, and I felt, morally should, help her. To fail Millvina Dean, the last tangible living link to the Titanic, would make a mockery of the world’s expressed concern for the tragedy,” Mullan explained to Independent.ie. His public plea actually worked. According to Reuters, Cameron, Winslet, and DiCaprio gave a combined $30,000 to the fund. Dean, for her part, was mainly just bothered by the influx of phone calls brought on by the attention.
Federal lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would change 19th century maritime liability rules in response to the 2019 boat fire off the coast of Southern California that killed 34 people. The bill would update the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, under which boat owners can limit their liability to the value of the remains of the vessel. The legislation would be retroactively applied to the families of Conception victims if it passes, officials said. The tragedy was one of the deadliest maritime disasters in recent U.S. history.
But how big is big? If you were to judge its size by the movie Titanic alone, you would assume RMS Titanic was one of the largest things ever built, perhaps so big that it’s yet to be matched since. However, as time rolled on and technology evolved, the cruise ships taking to the ocean these days are so big they’d make Cal Hockley spill his hair wax. Putting Titanic next to some of the largest modern cruise liners underlines just how massive and amazing cruise ships have become.
A fundraiser by the Lawton Heritage Association will allow visitors to experience the tragedy of the Titanic through the eyes of women at various levels of the social strata, while telling the broader story of an active historical era. Sandi Colby, who is coordinating the event for the Lawton Heritage Association, said the idea is to share the stories of women who were aboard the Titanic when it struck an iceberg and sank into the icy waters of the Atlantic in April 1912, while also linking the tragedy to the suffrage debate that had intensified about the same time.
“All the work I’ve done in the past in archaeology used vehicles that were connected to a ship. The ones that we’re building now are revolutionary new vehicles, able to work in extremely complex and rugged terrains – a new class of autonomous underwater vehicles that have their own intelligence and that are going to revolutionise the field of marine archaeology.” They are all the more extraordinary because they allow marine archaeologists to explore the ocean floor without needing to go to sea themselves. In the US, he recently undertook an expedition exploring Lake Huron and found an 1800s wreck – a search that was all done from land.
Next month, a consortium of organizations assembled by Ballard will launch a 10-year, $200 million federally funded effort to study the Pacific Ocean section of the country’s vast offshore Economic Exclusion Zone, which includes far-flung destinations such as Guam and American Samoa. “Fifty percent of the United States is beneath the sea, but we have better maps of Mars than we do of our country,” Ballard said this week about the expedition, which will not only map the bottom but study the makeup of the entire water column, from the shoreline to the abyss.
The Rhinebeck, New York Astor Gatehouse is for sale and it’s an impressive piece of history. The asking price is $2.5 million and the listing is through Sotheby’s International Realty. The Aster Gatehouse was built in 1878 as part of Ferncliff Farms a working dairy farm and horse breeding farm. William Backhouse Astor Jr. built the property to breed racehorses. The Astor family was once one of the richest families in New York and one that has a tragic connection to the sinking of the Titanic.
But in the 1980s the United States was deep into a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and President Ronald Reagan enjoyed waging psychological warfare on the enemy. Ballard knew little would screw with the Russkies’ heads more than the American ability to find the lost passenger liner that sank in the Atlantic in 1912. Because he’d once been a Navy officer and then frequently worked with the Navy using his advanced under-water cameras, Ballard managed to get word of his Titanic idea all the way up the chain of command, where the White House heard and agreed. “Absolutely,” the Gipper said to Navy Secretary John Lehman during his first term. “Let’s do it!”
A team of researchers at the Université du Québec à Rimouski are working to determine if a letter that washed up on shore in Canada was actually written by Lefebvre more than a century ago. “I am throwing this bottle into the sea, in the middle of the Atlantic. We are due to arrive in New York in a few days,” the letter reads. “If someone finds it, contact the Lefebvre family in Liévin.” The message, which is signed “Mathilde Lefebvre,” was found by a New Brunswick family in the sands near the Bay of Fundy in 2017. “So far, we have not caught a smoking gun of a forgery,” said Nicolas Beaudry, a history and archeology professor at the Université du Québec à Rimouski, who is studying the letter.
(Note-this article was written by a law firm that specializes in maritime law.)
When a vessel owner seeks protection under the Limitation of Liability Act, they file a civil lawsuit in Federal District Court. All potential claimants (including anyone injured and surviving family members) are notified. They each receive certified letters informing them that the vessel owner is suing them. As a part of a Petition for Limitation of Liability, the vessel owner also claims that the craft was worth a certain amount of money. If the ship sank, the value could be zero. For the Titanic, the value was estimated at less than $100,000: $300 for the 14 remaining lifeboats and $92,000 for the ship’s earnings. Under the Limitation of Liability Act, the owners of the “unsinkable” ship sought to limit claims for damages to this value. For the families of the 1,517 people who were killed and the 711 survivors, this would have equaled just about $41 each.
Hidden secrets within a ‘lost’ cemetery tell the stories behind thousands of graves. Among the dead include war heroes, patients from five mental asylums, and a Titanic survivor. A dancer who later became the muse of Picasso and a Victorian actor also lie in plots from past decades. However, their extraordinary tales are at risk of being lost forever as a charity fights to stop the land from being developed on, writes The Mirror. It wants to ensure their stories remain so they can take their spot in history. The land was a burial ground between 1899 and 1955 but has been stood derelict long ago.
On 1 September 1939, German forces using the pretext they were acting in self-defense against Poland, invaded. The German infantry was not fully mechanized but had Panzers and fast-moving artillery that included truck mounted artillery. The German strategy was to quickly concentrate forces and encircle an enemy quickly. Thanks to the relatively flat terrain of Poland, it made it easy to move mobile infantry about.
The invasion came one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August. This non-aggression pact meant neither side could assist the enemy of the other. A secret protocol to the agreement defined German and Soviet spheres in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. This protocol would not be proved until the Nuremberg Trials. So, when Germany invaded, Poland was already split with defined borders between the two countries.
With this pact, Poland signed defense agreements with Britain and France. Talks between those powers and Germany did take place and the invasion was held up until they were concluded. Hitler did not believe they would declare war, and if they did would be willing to compromise after the invasion of Poland. Germany wanted the restoration of Danzig (in Polish Gdansk) as a free city (it had a large German population), the Polish Corridor, and the safeguarding of Germans in Poland. Germany demanded that a Polish representative with the power to sign such an agreement be present. The British, remembering what happened before when Czechoslovakia was forced to capitulate to the Germans, did not like that demand. When the Polish representative met with Ribbentrop on 31 Aug, he was dismissed when he had no power to sign. The Germans then claimed that Poland had rejected their demands and Hitler ordered the invasion for 1 September.
The Germans were better prepared for war than the Polish. They had higher numbers of troops and had air superiority. Poland had older fighters while the bombers were more modern. They waited too late to upgrade so newer fighters and bombers would not be there when the Germany invaded. Poland had two armor brigades and its 7TP light tank was better armed than the German Panzer. But they only had 140 of those and 88 tanks they imported from Britain and France. The Polish Navy was a small fleet with destroyers, submarines and support vessels. Most of the surface vessels escaped and joined the British Royal Navy. Submarines did engage German shipping in the Baltic Sea but it was not successful. Polish merchant ships that did escape or elsewhere would join the allies and take part in wartime convoys.
By 3 October both German and Soviet forces had secured their spheres ending the Second Polish Republic. Both German and Soviet governments quickly took control of their territories, organizing and annexing, and setting up regional controls. Government and military leaders who did escape would form a military force in support of the Polish government-in-exile. In response to the invasion of Poland, Britain and France formally declared war on Germany on 3 September but little else (France did invade the Saar but quickly withdrew).
On 1 September 1985 history was made in the early morning hours. A combined expedition of Woods Hole Institute and the French national oceanographic agency IFREMER would locate the wreck of Titanic lying approximately 12,500 feet south-southeast off the coast of Newfoundland. Using a remote controlled deep-sea vehicle Argo equipped with sonar and cameras, it was towed by Knorr over the area. Robert Ballard of Woods Hole Institute had used this system to locate the sunken submarines Scorpion and Thresher. An earlier attempt by the French ship to locate by sonar had failed. So now he was focusing on finding a debris field, similar to how he found those submarines. Finally after a week of searching, at 12:48 am on Sunday, 1 September 1985 pieces of debris began to appear on Knorr’s screens. It brought both cheers and a somber moment of remembering Titanic’s sinking. The boiler found was identical to pictures from 1911. The next day the main part of the wreck was found showing Titanic had split in two.
On the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese formally surrendered ending World War II. By this time Japan was no longer the military power it once was. The Battle of Midway in June 1942 had been the turning point when four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk. Since then Japanese control over its captured territories were pushed back under massive effort of U.S. and Allied forces. By the summer of 1945, and with the capture of Okinawa, Japan was being blockaded and being bombed often. Plans for the invasion of Japan had been drawn up. After the bloody experience of capturing territory such as on Iwa Jima, it was expected to be a difficult invasion that would cost a lot of allied lives. However, the dropping of two atomic weapons on Japan in August on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed things dramatically.
Members of the Japanese War Council and Emperor Hirohito favored accepting the peace terms; some objected and acted to stop a surrender. On 15 Aug a coup was attempted against Prime Minister Suzuki, but it was crushed. At noon that day, and for the first time in Japanese history, Emperor Hirohito addressed the nation by radio. “We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.” The US and the allies accepted the surrender.
BBC News is reporting that the wood cross made from Titanic wood was sold for £10,000 ($12,969). The cross was made by Samuel Smith, one of the crew of the SS Minia that went out to retrieve bodies from Titanic. It was expected to fetch £12,000. The name of the purchaser was not released.
LiveScience is reporting the famed explorer Robert Ballard has ended his search for Amelia Earhart’s plane in the coral reefs of Nikumaroro.
The team mapped the island with sonar and a floating surface vehicle — and they employed remotely operated vehicles to explore the deeper crevices of the underwater mountain that Nikumaroro is a part of. The team even searched 4 nautical miles out and came up with nothing remotely linked to Earhart. They did, however, find a bunch of rocks that were the same size and shape as the supposed landing gear from the photo, according to the Times.
One expert consulted for the article was not surprised given the plane’s composition and that so much time has passed. There have been many theories about what happened to Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot Fred Noonan. Most have concluded the plane must have crashed in that area but evidence has been scant but it is the most promising. Bones found in a Tarawa museum are being checked and a temporary campsite found on Nikumaroro is being tested for DNA.
National Geographic funded the expedition and will release a documentary on it.
Famed explorer Robert Ballard is now looking for evidence that will determine what finally happened to Amelia Earhart who disappeared in July 1937. She was a famed aviator of her day one of the rare female aviators in a male dominated area. She achieved a lot putting her on par with another famous aviator Charles Lindbergh.
It has been an enduring mystery to find out what happened to her. Many claims over the years have been made–some fanciful and others grounded in logic–but nothing has yet been found to prove what happened to her. Ballard sees this as another challenge to perhaps correct history much like what he did with Titanic. Below is a re-posting of a write up I did on Amelia Earhart. Hopefully he does find something definitive so we can at last know what happened back in 1937.
A few days ago the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance went by without much notice in the press. There was some obligatory mentions in This Day In History write-ups and a mention of a possible finding of her plane. So who was Amelia Earhart and why was she important?
On 20 May 1932, five years after Charles Lindbergh made his famous solo nonstop flight from the U.S. to France, Amelia Earhart set out to be the first female aviator to accomplish the same feat. Unlike Lindbergh, Earhart was already well known before this flight. She gained fame in 1928 as part of a three person crew to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. On that trip, she kept the plane’s log. Early on 20 May 1932, her Lockheed Vega 5B took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. She intended to replicate Lindbergh’s flight but encountered strong northerly winds, mechanical problems, and icy conditions. Instead of landing in France, she landed in a pasture at Culmore(north of Derry)in Northern Ireland. When asked by a farmhand how far she had flown, she famously said “From America.”
Her feat received international acclaim. She received the Distinguished Flying Cross in the U.S., Cross of Honor of the Legion of Honor from France, and the Gold Medal from the National Geographic Society. Her fame allowed her develop friendships with many important and influential people such as First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Earhart would continue to make solo flights and set records. Sadly her next most famous mission would forever be shrouded in mystery. In 1937 she attempted–along with copilot Frederick Noonan–to fly around the world. On 2 Jul 1937, her plane disappeared near Howland Island in the South Pacific. Despite extensive searching by the U.S.Navy and Coast Guard, no trace of the plane or its pilots were ever found. The search was called off on 19 July.
Earhart was declared legally dead on 5 Jul 1939 so that her estate could pay bills. Since then numerous theories as to what happened have been put forth. Many believe her plane either crashed and sank or that they landed on an island and perished awaiting rescue. Some intriguing evidence recovered in 2012 off Nikumaroro might be from their plane which supports the crash and sank hypothesis. More speculative theories have her being a spy for FDR or being captured and executed (along with Noonan)by the Japanese on Saipan (the area checked for the pilots bodies revealed nothing). A 1970 book claiming she had survived, moved to New Jersey, and changed her name to Irene Craigmile Bolam. There really was an Irene Bolam who had been a banker in New York in the 1940’s. She sued the publisher and obtained an out-of-court settlement. The book was taken off the market. National Geographic debunked it in 2006 on Undiscovered History.
Time to catch up on some Titanic news! Here are some news articles you might be in interested. If you see a news article you think should be noticed here, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Little-Known Titanic Secrets About This Hidden Merseyside Building (Echo, 29 Dec 2018)
The only sign of its illustrious past is the giant Harland & Wolff sign on the outside of the building. But unknown to many, this Bootle site – passed by hundreds of HGV drivers a week on their way to the Port of Liverpool complex – could have links to the ill-fated luxury ocean liner, RMS Titanic. The White Star Line-owned ship, built at Harland & Wolff’s main Belfast production yard and registered in Liverpool, tragically sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg on April 15, 1912. Although there is little detailed information about Harland & Wolff’s Liverpool site, it is hought by some that engine parts for the Titanic could have been made there when it was used as a foundry at the turn of the last century. https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/little-known-titanic-secrets-hidden-15542852
The Titanic: 13 Things The Movie Got Wrong (12 They Got Right)(The Travel, 25 Dec 2018) Fortunately for Cameron and his team, the movie went on to be the highest grossing film of all time at the time of its release, breaking just about every single box office record in existence up until that point. It connected with audiences on a scale that few films do, becoming a cinematic sensation through its action-packed ship journey and an epic love story between the two main characters, Jack and Rose, played by a young Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Here are thirteen things the movie Titanic got wrong and twelve it actually got right. https://www.thetravel.com/things-the-titanic-movie-got-right-wrong-right/
My Titanic job…ship with 40,000 Lego bricks (Daily Express, 21 Dec 2018) Master builder Keith Morton is feeling shipshape after spending almost two years constructing a replica of the Titanic using 40,000 Lego bricks. The 65-year-old has painstakingly placed every brick into the 10ft model of the passenger liner. https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1062392/titanic-lego-model-Keith-Morton
The Discovery Of The Titanic Wreck Was a Front For a Secret U.S. Military Mission (Govexe.com, 18 Dec 2018) While it is true that a team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found the Titanic, what was not reported at the time were the conditions put in place by the U.S. Navy—or their involvement with the mission at all. Ballard was not exclusively a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist, but also a U.S. Navy Commander. The navy would fund the mission, CNN reported, but only if Ballard first explored the USS Thresher and the USS Scorpion, two American nuclear subs that had sunk about 20 years prior. https://www.govexec.com/management/2018/12/discovery-titanic-wreck-was-front-secret-us-military-mission/153629/
You Can Visit The Wreck Of Titanic At The Bottom Of The Atlantic Ocean In 2019 (Lonely Planet, 18 Dec 2018) Plans are in motion to bring people to visit the wreck of RMS Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 2019 as part of six 11-day missions to explore the wreck. Taking part in the Titanic Survey Expedition, which is open to scientists and ‘citizen explorers,’ will cost US$105,129 (£83,537), which is the equivalent of what a first class ticket on Titanic’s maiden voyage would cost now. https://www.lonelyplanet.com/news/2018/12/18/visit-wreck-titanic/
The Replica Ship Titanic II Will Now Set Sail In 2022 (Business Insider, 12 Dec 18) There are many stories out there about the upcoming Titanic II (dubbed by me as Palmer 2.0). We went down this road before. We had lots of press releases, gala events, stories of various suppliers etc. And then it hit the wall. Palmer could not get funding, the shipyard was quiet. Once again they are cranking up the press releases and the media are eating it up. Remember when suddenly out of the blue news articles were pushing Titanic II a couple of years ago by simply regurgitating old news? Well it has that feel again. Any way, here is the article about what Palmer 2.0 will look like etc. https://www.businessinsider.com/titanic-ll-compare-to-the-original-2018-11
To close out this Saturday, here are two Christmas comedy music for your enjoyment. Happy Saturday.
The National Geographic reports that last Friday (29 June 2018) the U.K.’s National Museum and National Museums of Northern Ireland have filed papers with the bankruptcy court pledging to raise $19.2 million to buy Premier Exhibitions and the Titanic Exhibition. Both museums would co-own the artifacts and display them in Belfast. The non-Titanic part of Premier would be acquired by another exhibition firm called Running Subway. It is also reported that the CEO of Running Subway is on the Creditors Committee and that Premier’s creditors support the bid. A rival bid by existing shareholders is offering $17.5 million at the moment. Another proposal from the equity holders calls for splitting up the artifacts and selling them at auction.
The National Maritime Museum is pledging to conserve the artifacts and has the facilities to do it. They are worried that history would end up in private hands and possibly disappear. Famed explorer and one of the two men that can claim to have found RMS Titanic (the other was Jean-Louis Michel of Ifremer also aboard Knorr at the time), Bob Ballard, is a supporter. Certainly this adds a new complexity to the upcoming hearing on July 25 where the proposals will be considered by the court. If they can raise the money, they might be able to pull it off. Then again there are a lot of competing interests and lots of jockeying going on behind the scenes. Also the lawsuit against former officers could have an impact as well though hard to say at this point.
Another fascinating wrinkle in this story. Stay tuned, this is going to be interesting.
Premier Exhibitions Update-On May 25, 2018 the Bankruptcy Court granted the Equity Committee legal standing to pursue claims against current and former officers and directors of Premier Exhibitions. In short it means they have the ability to demand they pay damages to help reduce the outstanding debts of the company. Since they have retained counsel, it means they expect it will result in litigation to determine whether they are liable and if so, how much they will have to pay.
View original document here.
View materials on the case here.
New Details on Secret Navy Mission Where Titanic Was Found-Some years ago it was revealed Titanic was discovered as part of a secret Navy mission that Ballard was on. He was sent on a mission to try to find out how two U.S. nuclear submarines had sunk. Using new submersible technology Ballard found those wrecks and the approximate location of Titanic. The National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. reveals more of the details of that secret mission. “Titanic: The Untold Story” delves into the many details that have not been publicly revealed until now.
In 1985, Ballard’s mission was to dive to depths of 9,800 feet using a towed camera system called Argo to find and document the imploded remains of the Scorpion. The objective of the mission was to locate the submarine’s nuclear reactor and nuclear weapons and to gain evidence to help determine what led to her loss. After concluding his successful investigations of the Scorpion, Ballard used the final 12 days of his expedition to discover the RMS Titanic at a depth of 12,540 feet. The following year, while the public was enthralled and distracted by the discovery of the Titanic, Ballard returned on a second classified mission to the Thresher and Scorpion.
Visitors will view artifacts, materials and photographs from the U.S. Navy Archives, and see the submersible Alvin that dived to Titanic. They will also see a variety of Titanic related artifacts from the National Archives and movie memorabilia from 20th Century Fox.